Dr. Wayne Duerkes has been selected as the first Managing Director of the Canal Corridor Association (CCA), the official coordinating entity for the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area. In this capacity, he will work closely with President / CEO Ana B. Koval to build upon the 40-year history of America’s First National Heritage Area. 

Duerkes joins CCA as the former Executive Director of the McHenry County Historical Society, where he increased collections for both the museum and library, expanded external communications and outreach efforts, and enhanced board development and engagement. He received his Ph.D at Iowa State University and his MA and BS at Northern Illinois University, all in history.

Prior to his academic pursuits, he served in the United State Marine Corps, worked in management for the United States Postal Service, and ran his own business. Additionally, he acquired nearly three decades worth of volunteering, work, and consulting with local museums and historical societies. 

Duerkes’ research focuses on Midwestern society.  His forthcoming monograph from University of Illinois Press will be an evolution of his dissertation and explores the intersectionality of the growth and development of local communities and regional markets in the DeKalb, Kendall, and LaSalle region from 1833-1852—on account of the planned canal.  He has published several chapters and articles in various publications dealing with Illinois and public history. He is a board member of both the Illinois State Historical Society and the Illinois State Genealogical Society as well as numerous county, regional, and national historic organizations.